I took this photo while I was perving on all the sparkly spangly things at my photo shoot for Cosmo on October 14. Sadly none of them were meant for me so I just drooled and fantasised about being a modern bridal-wear model dripping in sequins and fluffed with fur coats while I sat on the couch waiting until it was my go. (There was a real model before me which pissed me off royally because I knew I’d look like even more of a dick trying incredibly hard to look totally natural. Bitch.)
Time for makeup. I was very excited to see what I’d be styled in and how many different outfits I’d get to try which is hilarious in hindsight because I was given a plain white singlet to throw on for a single head-shot. What a dick. Thinking I was gonna get some sort of fashion spread like I was Kate bloody Moss or something HA! I’m still baffled by my unbridled self-indulgence in that moment – what on earth was I thinking? As I had one squinty eye on the model pose pose posing while my hot pink lippy was applied and my eyebrows were coloured in, I watched my glossy 6-page-spread vision droop and deflate like a sad penis on a cold day.
I tried to concentrate on resisting the box of cinnamon-dusted gluten-flavoured donuts in front of me but my tongue continued to quiver and salivate uncontrollably. Then it was my turn. By this stage I was feeling extremely lethargic and my belly was sore and beginning to bloat after my second round of hormone injections for egg freezing that morning. My pits were sweating – a strange anomaly as my close friends laugh at the fact that I have never purchased a can or stick of deodorant my entire life. I felt so awkward it was as if I was wearing a heavy bumbag and one of those chunky patterned turtle-necks they sell at Sydney Airport gift shops. (I’ve never understood why those awful sweaters are marketed as inherently Australian souvenirs.)
I did my best to follow the complicated instructions coming thick and fast from the photographer while he clicked away furiously. Every time he had to stop clicking to peer over the camera and swipe his hand in different directions saying, “Left darling. Left. The other left. And down. Chin down. Now stick your bum out. And shoulders forward. To the side. And one step closer to me. Oop! Too close. Yeah back a bit. Back. Back a bit. No that way. And chin down. Now relax. Your bra strap’s showing can you get rid of that? And straight at me…. BABE CAN YOU COME AND FIX THAT WEIRD BIT OF HER HAIR STICKING UP IT LOOKS WEIRD! Aaand back at me. And chin down. Down. Now turn your body that way but look at me. Now laugh. Laugh like something’s really funny.”
At that point I had to laugh at how ridiculously bad I was at this and suddenly had a deep, deep respect for models. Every single one of them. RESPEC’ YO! Luckily for everyone it was over relatively quickly. I actually felt sorry for the photographer. Poor dude wasn’t warned I don’t know my left and right.
As we ‘wrapped up’ there was a little break between my shoot and the next one. I tried to overcompensate for my terrible modeling by making energetic, smiley chit chat with the photographer and stylist who I thought were privy to my interview and the purpose of my glorious head-shot which as it turns out, they were not.
“So what are you actually here for?”
My last shred of self-confidence must’ve dropped out of my asshole around the same time my butt cheeks clenched with embarrassment. Here I was thinking the whole room knew that Mum and I had taken on a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company in our campaign to make Visanne – a treatment option for Endo – available in Australia. AND WON! And here I was having my photo taken for my first ever magazine appearance – a momentous occasion. But no. They had absolutely no idea who I was or what I was doing there.
But I flicked what little hair I have left on my head, dusted myself off and gave my elevator pitch. Boy did everything shift. Suddenly I was meaningful. Suddenly I was interesting. Their faces completely changed from looking reasonably blah to eyes sparkling, toothy smiles, “WOW THAT’S AMAZING”s and loads of questions and praise. In that moment, I forgot about my pain and felt very proud. Proud of myself, proud of my mum and proud of everyone who had helped us achieve what we’ve achieved together. I walked out of the studio feeling exhausted but a little taller than when I had walked in.
So when you see my photo along with the interview in next month’s Cosmo, (if they use my bad side I will take out a hefty loan in order to pull every last copy off the shelves of Australia) I’ll likely be wearing a big fat grin but on the inside I was hurting. All I wanted to do was get into my trackies, curl up under my doona and go to bed. Girls with endo are used to that. You may be in pain but you learn to cope. You cover it up and nobody can tell. The most common thing people say to us is, “well you don’t look sick!” That’s because endo is an invisible disease. It’s taught me to never judge people on face value – you just have idea what they’re battling inside.